Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mele on the blinding of Sarasota County - through language

Andy Mele:

Sarasota County's New Vision is . . .

Vague, imprecise and unenforceable 

. . . In many places (such as policy 1.3.6, allowing native habitats to be destroyed by development), the plan substitutes the word “encourage” for the word “shall.” “Shall” is precise, compulsory and enforceable. “Encourage” renders the entire section unenforceable and moot, and that is its intent. Again, both commissioners and county staff are adamant about keeping these changes, attributed to “public input,” but introduced at the behest of private interests.
For insight into this blurring of the lines between private and public interest, I went looking for confirmation in law that this distinction actually matters any more. 
I found it in Article II, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution.Turns out that in the state’s principal legal document, a county commissioner is responsible for, and accountable to, the public trust. 
The wording of this section is interesting, in light of the changes to the comprehensive plan. “The people shall have the right to secure and sustain that trust against abuse.” In the Florida Constitution, there is a bright and shining line between private and public interests. 
Yet, this plan “update” makes clear that both staff and the commission have been mingling public with private in a manner that contravenes the letter and spirit of the law.
I doubt that you would find 10 people in the county, outside the tight circle of beneficiaries, who think private interest is in the public’s benefit. Conflating the two in policy is called corruption, and here in America, we may practice corruption, but we don’t like it, and it is against the law. More here . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment